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Dear Religious People

April 27, 2014

I saw this meme today

Atheist majorityI

I saw this and cringed a little. It may be part of the ‘narrative’ of modern atheism to suggest that atheists have been poorly treated in the past and once they gain ascendency in the future everything will all change. Yet, unfortunately this dream shared by this atheist, though admirable, is wishful thinking. In fact the evidence points to the opposite.

The evidence of history (and the present) demonstrates that where atheists are the majority also leads to religious persecution. Indeed some of the most brutal and repressive regimes in history, those in Communist Eastern Europe, were where atheists were in the majority. It simply ignores the evidence of history to suggest otherwise.

Furthermore, even in modern ‘secular’ West, there is a growing subtle persecution of Christians who hold fast to their beliefs and oppose things like ‘same sex marriage’ and homosexuality. The treatment and pressure for Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich is evidence of this. Again it’s hard to see how Christian people are being treated any better where atheists are gaining the ascendancy!

It is to the shame of Christians who treat atheists poorly because part of Jesus’ message is to love your neighbour, whoever your neighbour may be (even atheists). Yet  it’s also important to distinguish ‘religious’ from ‘true believer’, remember it was ‘religious’ people who murdered Jesus and the Bible is consistently critical of hypocritical ‘religious’ behaviour. There are mechanisms within the Christian message which can critique hypocritical behaviour. So, whilst religious people might have treated atheists badly, this is hardly a claim that is new and I equally condemn them for their poor behaviour.

So, I appreciate the sentiment of the author of this meme who appears to want to treat others better. Yet unless they can demonstrate that ‘atheism’ will lead to religious freedom and flourishing, I find it very hard to believe.

From → Comment

  1. A further thing to note would be that historically theologians, bible translators, and social reformers who were Christians themselves were far more persecuted by “religious people” than any atheists.

    Memes can be creative and funny but usually far more damaging and misleading than anything else.


    • Patrick. Thanks and yes, I agree. There is a real danger that ‘meme’ culture can obscure decent rational discussion.

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